a blog series recap!

From September 23, 2015 to May 26, 2016, I took hiatus from my personal blog to explore, explain, and write a number of DevOps articles for my employer on the blog. Nutanix acquired and I am still part of the Nutanix Calm team, but I’m re-posting these articles on my personal blog since the originals are no longer directly accessible. I am also enhancing them to clarify language, add learnings, and append significant developments as postscripts.

Original, but Slightly Enhanced Articles

Listed by publishing date, these articles are a progressive journey to DevOps. I’ve moved the final paragraphs out from most of the articles to the Calls to Action section as well as slightly enhancing each article in February, 2018: Calls to Action:

Calm and DevOps

At Calm, we have collected many of the problems customers face and we describe our solution in our white paper: Calm IT Down: DevOps Automation for the Container Era.

At Calm, we believe in enhancing the DevOps ecosystem by integrating the tools, clouds, and platforms you have adopted, accelerating the value you get out of them by modeling your entire architecture, and then driving orchestration, operations, access, budget, and policy on top of your models for all the people, partners, and systems in your organization. Please read our white paper and request a demo!

Calm is the DevOps Solution

Calm is a DevOps automation platform, built for the container era, but born in the bare metal data center. Calm can leverage your existing choices for cloud, platforms, and tools allowing you to integrate and automate them.

The heart of Calm is your full stack/environment application’s blueprint, it represents Infrastructure as Code, please see the next blog entry for more detail. We extend the blueprint past infrastructure to describe your resource dependencies (for orchestration, see image below), application policies (for access controls, budgets, notifications, and approvals), and operations (scale up/down nodes, upgrades, gather logs, etc.), which I like to call Operations as Code.

IMG: Calm Blueprint example, Example three tier application Calm blueprint

Behind the scenes, Calm blueprints are JSON created with a simple, beautiful web interface to allow DevOps engineers to design and end users to consume your application’s architecture and operations. I will talk about how to remix clouds and configuration management systems with hybrid architectures and Operations as Code in later blog posts.

With role based access control on blueprints, Calm allows ephemeral application deployments, delegated access to any person, team, or system for deployments and operations, along with auditability. Now we can get every person, tool, cloud, and platform on to the same page via Calm blueprints! This is the manner to apply DevOps values onto the DevOps ecosystem in place at your organization for today and for tomorrow.

If you haven’t already taken the opportunity, I invite you to read our first white paper and request a demo!

The Role of Calm in Continuous Delivery and Deployment

As I have blogged before, Calm blueprints model your entire application and encapsulate Infrastructure as Code and Operations as Code for your application’s deployment and life cycle management. Calm blueprints allow delegation to deploy and manage the application life cycle to any team for ad hoc work or for other systems for DevOps automation to achieve continuous delivery and deployment.

Calm compliments your existing software development pipelines for continuous integration, delivery, and deployment. Application integration testing for continuous delivery can be achieved with Calm:

A build system can invoke a Calm blueprint via our REST API to deploy an application with the latest build artifacts, perform application integration tests as operations, and then have Calm de-provision the application instance, accomplishing ephemeral application integration testing environments.

The same outcome could be driven from inside a Calm blueprint, allowing you to model the entire application life cycle from build to test to deployment: invoke the build system, pull and deploy the latest artifacts, and then perform application integration test operations.

Either approach works with Calm due to the flexibility in our automation platform. Repeating continuous delivery with a Calm blueprint to production achieves continuous deployment.

Because Calm blueprints model your applications and operations, Calm can integrate your clouds, tools, platforms, and people as well as the way you wish to achieve continuous delivery and deployment. Calm blueprints add audits, notifications, and approvals as needed in addition to allowing reuse of the deployment and test operations on all of your application instances!

Let us show you how to deliver continuous value: please read our white paper and request a demo!

Calm and Configuration Management

With Calm’s visual approach to Infrastructure as Code, you can model your applications across different configuration management systems within the a blueprint. The model based approach allows teams to experiment with different configuration management systems at the same time, enabling refactoring, migration, testing, and collaboration: you can on-board new teams or organizations using different configuration management systems with ease.

Furthermore, Calm can handle application service orchestration for deployment and operations as an integral whole across hybrid data centers, clouds, and containers. By describing the logical dependencies of the services in an application blueprint, Calm can automatically figure out the quickest way to provision in parallel while satisfying deployment dependencies. With Calm orchestration, no longer will you find a missing server behind a load balancer or an application that cannot connect to a database. Calm can accommodate complex operations across the entire application, such as an upgrade, might require several stages of orchestration across different application service tiers, for instance:

  • remove an application server from a load balancer
  • stop the application server or change to maintenance mode
  • insure drained incoming and outgoing connections
  • download artifacts, patch the operating system, etc. to perform the upgrade
  • restart or restore the application server to production mode
  • test the application server and outgoing connections
  • restore the application server to the load balancer.

Orchestration can easily outstrip configuration management system abilities and Calm goes further to provide choices to roll out of a change to a fleet of cattle and enables coordination across the entire application state. Please ask for a demo today!

With Calm, you can refactor between configuration management and immutable infrastructure with any approach to operate your applications today and tomorrow, let us show you how!

Calm and Immutable Infrastructure

Calm helps your organization tackle infrastructure migration from synthesized at runtime and mutable to built infrastructure artifacts and immutable architecture to realize all of the strategic advantages of these methods. When tools, systems, and applications embrace DevOps values, infrastructure as code can progress to immutable infrastructure as code.

Deployment of immutable infrastructure is faster than using configuration management during provisioning run time. We have blogged previously on how it becomes simpler to upgrade or revert deployments behind a load balancer with immutable infrastructure, which also enables multiple deployment strategies including partial (mixed “canary”) and atomic (“blue/green” or “red/black”) roll outs.

Calm enables refactoring workloads from Pets to Cattle, i.e. from bare metal to VM (and to containers) across different providers at the same time. This allows you to float above different clouds and enable global load balancing or migration with Calm.

Calm supports build systems to deploy your infrastructure artifacts as part of application integration testing, which accomplishes infrastructure and deployment testing! The Calm blueprint contains static and dynamic infrastructure application state, which should be used to drive dynamic configuration of your applications.

There are so many ways Calm delivers DevOps agility for your applications today and for your new needs tomorrow, please request a demo today!


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